I’ve read three books so far this year on gaming. All have been just terrific.

I’ve already talked about “Achtung, Schweinhund.” I’ll be posting on the thoroughly enjoyable “The Elfish Gene” soon.

The third book was kindly sent to me by its author: “Game Night,” by Jonny Nexus.

I read it over the last weekend I was in England, although it was actually sent to me last winter. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I also wish I’d brought it with me to Warpcon, where the inimitable author was, to get it signed.

Well, if you’re in the Reading area this weekend (of England – hush, you Pennsylvanians), you can do one better than me and pick up a copy and have J.N. sign it for you! Just pop by Eclectic Games, which I hear is a rather excellent shop that’s moving to a new, larger site adjacent to their current location. The opening day is this Saturday, 28th June, when the author will start signing away from about 10 am onwards.

So if you’re near Reading, it would behoove you to hit Eclectic Games, grab a copy of this Pratchett-esque debut novel of gods, roleplaying, and game-night kerfuffles. Plus, Jonny’s a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is.

Eclectic Games is located just opposite the railway station (hopefully, this link opens to a map).

Eclectic Games
Thames Tower
38-45 Station Road
Reading
RG1 1LX

So, yeah – buy “Game Night.” Get it signed. It’s a fun, fresh, irreverent read that’ll ring true to any gamer even if, unlike the protagonists, you happen not to be a god.

Chapter one is available as a free preview download. With luck, clicking on that there link should procure it for you.

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Some folks asked for larger images of the Star Kobolds that’ll be used at Origins. Here they are:





A reader asked, yesterday if, based on these drawings, Tribbles tasted like chicken.

“Only in the dish “Truffle with Tribbles,” I replied.

Ba-dum, dum!

(With extra emphasis on the “dum.”)

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Mattel’s released their first Apples to Apples game with all-new content: Apples to Apples to Go.

An exclusive for Target which for some reason can be picked up at Amazon.com as well, I bought my copy with more than a little trepidation. Now that A2A belongs to someone else, it’s a bit like bumping into an ex-girlfriend and her new husband on the street.

It’s gratifying that Mattel kept the illustrations and logo I did for the game (indeed, my plucky little Apple is even larger on the cards, now). So too was it nice to see that the flavor text I spent much time on (snarky doesn’t come easy to me, gang) made it through to the Mattel version. But what would this all-new edition be like?

I needn’t have worried. Mattel got it right.

If you like Apples to Apples, you’ll love the all-new cards in the “To Go” version. It’s packed with Red Apple cards like “Dick Cheney,” “Linday Lohan,” “Machiavelli” and “The First Amendment,” and the flavor text hits just the right notes: “DICK CHENEY: 1941- , Forty-sixth Vice President of teh U.S. and much-feared quail hunter.” Brilliant. And the mix of high-brow and low-brow cards seems spot-on

There are a couple of slight mis-steps: “Snooty Maitre D’s” carries with it an implicit value judgement – a simple “Maitre D’s” would have been more fitting. Similarly “Your Ex” should have been “My Ex,” as all such cards are written from the Judge’s point of view. And I’m surprised at some of the “all-new” cards. We never did “A Plague of Locusts” “Word War II” or “ABBA”? Really?

Still, it’s a great set, and I can’t wait to play with it. Any fears folks might have had about Mattel changing A2A for the worse seem definitely unfounded, at least based on the terrific “Apples to Apples to Go.”

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But Mattel…next time you want to show the Apple running…give me a call. I work cheap. Honest.

- John

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